City News Blog


This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!

[9/2/2016, 11:30 AM] From Polk County Emergency Management:

Tropical Storm Hermine (now downgraded from hurricane status) will move across Georgia and toward South Carolina into this afternoon.  A trailing outer rain band will move across Central Florida through the afternoon.  Expect wind gusts, occasional lightning strikes, and heavy downpours in passing squalls.

Power Outages?

Are you experiencing electric outages (but still able to access the internet via your smartphone)? This map shows the current outages in the 258-square-mile Lakeland Electric service area.  To see more details about an outage, click on the red icon associated with that outage.


Polk County Fire Rescue is offering sandbag fill locations throughout Polk County from 8 am to 8 pm at these fill sites.

You may download the Sandbag Information document on where to place sandbags from Polk County Emergency Management here.

Polk County Public Schools Update

Public schools and district offices in Polk County are scheduled to operate as normal on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. All outdoor sports (including JV football) and outdoor activities scheduled will be operating on-schedule, as of 11:30 am, 9/2.

If any decision is made to close schools due to severe weather conditions, Polk County Public Schools will communicate using the automated telephone calling system for parents and guardians, as well as the district's website and social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter). Local media will also be notified.

Helpful Links


Tropical Depression 9 Has Been Upgraded to Tropical Storm Hermine

[9/1/2016, 8:30 AM] From Polk County Emergency Management:


Tropical Storm Hermine is identified in the attached imagery –NASA IR GULF- with a yellow circle) The center of Tropical Storm Hermine was located near latitude 26.4 North, longitude 86.6 West. Hermine is moving toward the north-northeast near 12 mph, and this motion with a slight increase in forward speed is expected during the next day or so. On the forecast track, the center of Hermine will be near the Florida coast in the warning area tonight or early Friday.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 60 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is anticipated, and Hermine is expected to be a hurricane by the time landfall occurs. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles to the east of the center. The estimated minimum central pressure from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane was 996 mb.

[8/31/2016, 3:30 PM] From Polk County Emergency Management:

The system has strengthened into a tropical storm.  The center of Tropical Storm Hermine was located near latitude 24.7 North, longitude 88.0 West. Hermine appears to be drifting northward near 2 mph.

A north-northeastward motion is expected later today, and a turn toward the northeast with increasing forward speed is expected on Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Hermine will approach the northwest Florida coast in the warning area on Thursday afternoon.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 40 mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next day or two, and Hermine could be near hurricane strength by the time landfall occurs. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles mainly to the southeast of the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 mb.

[8/30/2016] From Polk County Emergency Management: Significant rainfall is expected in Polk County as Tropical Depression No. 9 nears Florida's west coast in the coming days. Portions of the county will receive 4 to 6 inches of rain, while the eastern portions of the county are expected to receive slightly lower amounts in the 2- to 4-inch range during the coming days as the storm approaches and crosses the state.

The center of Tropical Depression Nine was located near latitude 24.0 North, longitude 87.2 West. The depression is moving toward the west-northwest near 7 mph. A turn toward the northwest is expected later today, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest tonight.

A turn toward the north-northeast is expected on Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of the depression will continue to move slowly away from western Cuba, and move over the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the next 48 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm today. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1004 mb. Polk County Emergency Management EOC will continually monitor the progress of TD 9 and will notify of changes, if necessary.

LAKELAND, FL (August 26, 2016) - The City of Lakeland will be starting a shoreline stabilization and restoration project with construction beginning September 12th on the south side of Lake Hollingsworth in the vicinity of the public access boat ramp.  The project is expected to be completed by January 31, 2017.  The public access boat ramp and parking lot will remain open during the project. 

The shoreline in this location has experienced significant erosion and destabilization over recent years contributing to the measurable loss of shoreline area, exposure of tree root systems and subsequent loss of several trees.   

Laurie Smith, Manager of Lakes & Stormwater said, “If left unabated, additional erosion and loss of shoreline would continue.  We will be installing a low profile sea wall constructed of Truline brand hybrid recycled materials specially designed to stabilize the shoreline and prevent additional erosion.” 

Three sets of concrete steps will be set into the seawall for access to the lake.  The City of Lakeland Lakes & Stormwater Division met with several user groups in researching shoreline stabilization solutions.  Custom Built Marine of Port St. Lucie, FL was awarded the contract for the seawall installation project at a cost of $192,000. 

Lakeland, FL (August 25, 2016) – The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is proud to announce that one of its long serving firefighters, Lieutenant Matt Allan Brown, will be recognized on August 31, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio as The American Legion’s National Firefighter of the Year.

This distinguished award will be presented at The American Legion’s 98th Annual Convention held at Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center. 

The award is highly prestigious and is only given to one firefighter in the nation per year. The American Legion explains that “The award recognizes those firefighters who have selflessly distinguished themselves over and above their normal duties predominantly though service activities, professional achievements, and heroic acts”. 

Lieutenant Brown was selected because of his high level of involvement and service in the Lakeland community outside of his duties as a firefighter, his dedication in service while at the department, and for several heroic actions while off duty. Matt serves the department as a Lieutenant as well as the department’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team coordinator and SWAT Paramedic team coordinator. He is also highly involved in the community through his work as part of the Lakeland Rotary Club and is a graduate of Leadership Lakeland, Class XXXIII. 

One of the heroic incidents that led to this award was when Lieutenant Brown stepped in to provide medical aid while off duty in an incident which involved an officer being shot by a suspect while in pursuit. The second event took place in a local supermarket parking lot, where an elderly patient had a medical episode in a moving vehicle that proceeded to crash into parked vehicles. Lieutenant Brown, once again while off duty, sprang into action to assist the patient and contain the incident.

These heroic actions led to local and state level awards in 2015 for Lieutenant Brown prior to the national award he will accept August 31.

For interview requests and more information please contact Janel Vasallo.


Janel Vasallo, Public Relations & Information Manager | 863/834-8219


Watch our big announcement on Facebook Live here!

LAKELAND, FL (August 25, 2016) - The City of Lakeland is very pleased to announce that Lakeland Senior Living, LLC d/b/a Lake Gibson Village has donated an 18-acre parcel of land south of Carpenter’s Way to the City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Department. The 18-acre parcel, valued at $2.25 million will be developed into a neighborhood park.  Evangel Christian School used a portion of the complex and the sports fields until it closed in 2006. The existing fields have been vacant and in dire need of maintenance ever since. 

Lake Gibson Village purchased the vacant Without Walls Church property and surrounding 66 acres to develop Lake Gibson Village Senior Living Community. Phase one of the development includes the restoration of the former historic Carpenters Home, which has been transformed into 142 independent senior living apartments with many of the original architectural details preserved.  Residents will begin moving in this month.  Phase two, which is currently in the early stages of development, will include new construction of separate assisted living and memory care buildings as well as additional independent living residences. 

“We are excited about the City’s plans for the property and happy that the planned amenities will be enjoyed by the entire community,” said Renee Tucker, CEO of Lake Gibson Village and spokesperson for the owners.

City Manager Tony Delgado said, “Earlier in the year, Lake Gibson Village agreed to lease the sports fields to the City of Lakeland for $1 per year.  This local agreement started dialogue for something much bigger and now we are excited to share, not only a generous gift but our vision of a neighborhood park.”

Bob Donahay, City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Director said, “This site is a prime piece of real estate and we have big plans for the property. The City of Lakeland really does appreciate the generous donation that will allow us to add to our park inventory without the costly expense of purchasing land.” He added, “Once we build it out, the 18-acre parcel will be a great amenity for the neighborhood that will house two multi-purpose fields with permanent lighting, a walking path, a modular playground and a dog park.  We also have plans for concessions and restrooms so one day we can host youth sports leagues at the facility.”

“This is a win-win and the City of Lakeland is extremely grateful that we have partners like Lake Gibson Village that care about the well-being of the community, enough to donate park land valued at $2.25 million,” said Delgado. “We plan on building a much needed park facility that the surrounding neighborhood will enjoy and the sports fields will allow us to address the immediate needs of youth sports programs.”

The City of Lakeland was incorporated January 1885 and has grown to become on of the largest inland communities in Florida.  With a current population over 100,000 Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years.  With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor.  The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 110 years ago.  To learn more about the City of Lakeland, please visit


Kevin Cook, Director of Communications | 863/834-6264

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